MEAC championships bring big boost in tourism for Norfolk

WAVY-TV 10 Photo

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The weeklong Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship tournament is back in town for the fifth straight year, and it’s expected to generate nearly $5 million into the city’s economy.

Some people wait all year for the tournament that has become a tradition at Norfolk Scope Arena, where 23 games will be played among 13 historically black colleges and universities along the east coast.

Norfolk Scope Arena in March 2017 during the MEAC championships. WAVY-TV 10 Photo.

Barbara McGhee and Tony Wright, who met as classmates at Savannah State, are visiting Norfolk for the third time.

“We need to support our young athletes and show them they have the support of the community, as well as their alums,” said Wright.

Visit Norfolk estimates the tournament generates $4.6 million for the city’s economy. That number includes money spent at restaurants, hotels and attractions.

“I look forward to going down on your waterfront, and I’m extremely interested in the military units that are down there,” said Wright.

Business near the scope, like A.J. Gators, reports an uptick in business year-after-year.

“The MEAC does bring people out,” says Kenyetta White, who’s been serving at the restaurant and bar for three years. “I almost hit $200 yesterday. On a regular day, I would probably hit like $50.”

The MEAC and City of Norfolk are under an agreement to keep the tournament in the city through 2018. Visit Norfolk says they plan on entering discussions with conference officials to keep it in town even longer.